Tuesday, June 24, 2008

CNC'd Horseshoes with Matthew

Tonight Matthew Henricks graciously invited me over to his dad's shop, where he CNC'd the horseshoes for me from some 1/8" hardboard that I had purchased earlier this year.

The first thing we needed to do was cut the 4'x4' sections of hardboard into 1'x4' strips.

Matthew loaded up the computer with the programs. I took a lot of time asking plenty of questions about how the CNC machine worked, and how the programs work. There are five programs for the horseshoes: Two for the two different sizes for the layers that don't have the buttons and hydraulics, two more for the different sizes for layers that do have the buttons and hydraulics, and one more for the shim layer.

One of the many things I learned tonight is the importance of the role of the spoil board. This board overlays the vacuum table, and has holes drilled into it to keep the piece in place while the CNC machine cuts it. The board has foam insulation taped to the outline of the piece to be cut, to help keep the vacuum at the desired pressure. Part of the spoil board gets cut, since the router bit goes deeper than the material getting cut.

All systems are go! Let's cut some horseshoes!

Matthew holds the first piece cut.

This machine is capable of cutting two pieces at a time. As usual with hardboard and MDF, the pieces come out somewhat fuzzy from the machine.

If and when I get a chance, I'll upload some video of the machine in action.

A sanding machine with a soft bristle wheel helps take the fuzz off.

Last but not least, here's a preview of what we have planned for tomorrow.

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